We always knew they were coming back. After INDEPENDENCE DAY redefined the event movie genre, the next epic chapter delivers global spectacle on an unimaginable scale. Using recovered alien technology, the nations of Earth have collaborated on an immense defense program to protect the planet. But nothing can prepare us for the aliens’ advanced and unprecedented force. Only the ingenuity of a few brave men and women can bring our world back from the brink of extinction.
MPC’s team worked closely with Production VFX Supervisor Volker Engel to create more than 200 shots.
MPC open the film with an action packed sequence based on the Moon. The scene begins with the arrival of a new weapon to the “Earth Space Defense Station” and finishes with the Alien Mother ship destroying most of the planet on its way to Earth.
MPC built the moon, which includes 2 main lunar environments, the “Sea of Tranquility” and the “Van de Graff Crater.” For this, the team researched Nasa photography, used production concept art and Hubble references for views from the Moon to Earth. The team studied the properties of the moon’s surface to ensure the simulations were geologically representative. This also helped make the destruction of the organic surfaces look photo-real. The IDR production team supplied concepts of the Cannon on the Moon Base, MPC built the 300m tower in high detail plus hundreds of other assets to the surface including smaller buildings, CG lunar vehicles including the Moon tug, moon buggies, fighter Jets, digital doubles of David (Jeff Goldblum) and Jake (Liam Hemsworth) and the moon cannon. Smaller details such as lunar dust particles, flashing landing lights, tire tracks and footprints were added to the powdery surface.
As our heroes investigate an Alien crash site the gigantic Mother Ship appears, ploughing into the moon’s surface creating a meteor storm of debris and lunar soil heading straight for them. Live action plates were shot in a studio against blue screen, with partial set builds for the lunar surface. The actors were on wires to simulate the differences in gravity. As the destruction starts we switch to full CG digi-doubles of the characters in their space suits, created using detailed scans and photographs of the actors.
Ultimately the Moon Cannon proves no defence against the huge Alien cannon and the Mothership’s Beam demolishes the Moon base with its green laser, synonymous with the first movie. MPC’s FX team used Real flow and Houdini to recreate the Iconic green beam.
MPC’s final shot is a full CG shot of the Mother ship detonating 8 “Orbital Defense Satellites” in one enormous blast.
Twentieth Century Fox